Books that give you the lowdown on good parenting

Books that give you the lowdown on good parenting

By KORAL DASGUPTA | | 2 January, 2016
In 2015, books on parenting were given plenty of shelf space in India. Koral Dasgupta rediscovers five of the best books on parenting by Indian authors, and lists the lessons learnt.

Pregnancy, babies and parenting are such topics about which everyone knows everything. Advises and opinions pour in endlessly, sometimes enriching our experiences and otherwise confusing us beyond repair. In such moments we are automated to turn to our best ever friend, looking for answers. Google!

Staying informed is an obvious necessity, especially when it comes to raising a child, which requires huge emotional investments and responsibility. Earlier the source of information used to be the grandmothers and other senior members of the family, who may have been there done that and knew lots of tricks to combat parenting issues be it home remedies for ailments or simply keeping the child entertained. With the joint family culture breaking down fast and members of the same family geographically and emotionally distanced, we turn to websites, books and doctors for help.

There are many websites that offer detailed knowhow on all aspects of parenting. For our specific queries, there are active groups spread over social media where parents discuss and sort out their issues and also source innovative solutions to tackle them.

But if you are a voracious reader who believes in reading out everything available under the earth to stay prepared for any impending block you might face on the way, then here’s listing down five contemporary Indian authors whose books on parenting will provide all kinds of information you might be looking for.

First in my list would be Karisma Kapoor’s My Yummy Mummy Guide, co-authored by Madhuri Banerjee. I name it as my first choice because, the book starts with a focus on mothers and gradually comes to the child. The main statement that the book makes is that if you want a healthy baby, then the first step is to ensure that the mother bearing the new life is fundamentally and temperamentally stable enough to take the life-long grill that is about to follow. Everyone loves babies, but something that health conscious women today freaks out about is the bulging middle portion of the body that refuses to flatten post pregnancy. And the entire world advises the new moms to make “sacrifices” on their work or lifestyle or priorities, which sometimes feel depressing. But the moment you are vocal on those, you are judged on the “good mother scale” and you come back guilt ridden with a very low score. My Yummy Mummy Guide picks up practical issues, one at a time, and packs in a perspective for you. These include diet, exercises, planning parties, fashion, travel, work, single-parents, and others. Then you are left alone to decide what works for you and find your own path.   

Second in my list is Shabia Ravi Walia’s Mamma Mania. This is one book that covers myriad aspects of pregnancy and baby birth and stands testimony to the huge research the author must have undergone before being a mother and before penning it out. As you turn the pages, you would never feel that you are collecting information to keep yourself prepared for stuff; rather the book reads like an old friend confiding to you her own journey of embracing motherhood and the self-realisations that come with it. The book jots down “Ten to-do/to-know things” when you are trying to conceive, or when you are pregnant, or just before the baby arrives, making it easy for would-be parents to get to the point easily. Especially if restrictions of pregnancy or motherhood has started taking a toll, Mamma Mania is a must read for you. It will give you exactly that butterscotch and chocolate shot you need at the end of a tiring day, and you can consume it without bothering of weight gains.

Next in my list is SonaliBendreBehl’s The Modern Gurukul. This one I recommend specially because it follows from old school texts and carries with it the author’s own research with the Vedic path of acquiring and imparting education, knowledge, habits and philosophies both for the parents and the child. She goes back to the ancient past of India to find out the roles and methods of teachers and parents in bringing up children who grow up to be compassionate, learned, fair human beings. The ideas she gathered has been blended beautifully to match her modern set-up and advocate some parenting rules for the new-gen guardians. What I loved most about The Modern Gurukul is the book’s focus on Discipline, as a value that can make or break the system of a child and those of parents. This term, discipline, is one of the most underestimated words of the day and I have personally experienced parents compromising on this to earn themselves an easy life; or that they are too affectionate to prioritise on that. Throughout the book, under multiple headings, Sonali has successfully pointed out how important it is for parents and guardians to stay disciplined, understand their own family and health concerns, accept the strengths and weaknesses, consciously introspect on the path they chose to follow and imbibe that culture in the child as he grows up with them.

If you are bored of all the “gyan” and want to breathe free, and yet feel drawn to the same parenting chaos endlessly and suffocatingly, it’s time for you to lap up Kiran Manral’s Karmic Kids, which by her own admission is an account of “laid back parenting.” The book is an intelligent and hilarious take on parenting blues and advocates one simple thought to all super-moms and super-dads. Take it easy! There are many sticky moments in life when things assume too much importance because of peer pressure or the self-dictated benchmarks you have burdened yourself with! Manral picks those up, year by year till the kids turn ten, and addresses them with humour. From your body and mind, to those of others in the family, the helps, the baby blues, growing demands for theme parties you are clueless about, and many other issues crop up and settle themselves in the printed pages. As you read the book you would probably laugh at yourself thinking of those moments when simple or silly ambitions that you had set with yourself or with the baby managed to unnerve you considerably and you behaved as if you are someone else. Karmic Kids will stand by you and support those moments. It will assure you that everything is fair in love, war and parenting!

If mothers are here, can fathers be far behind? Tuhin A. Sinha’s Daddy is a one of its kind initiative in India that chronicles “The Birth of a Father”. From that emotional journey of an aspiring parent, to the roles to be played when the spouse is pregnant, the rights and wrongs in thoughts and decision-making, birth homecoming and new parenting woos, Sinha covers a wide range of parenting topics as he narrates his own plunge into it. While the book is informative and throws light on a lot of issues that often goes ignored or understated, what’s interesting is that the target audiences for Daddy are primarily the fathers, over mothers. In an Indian patriarchal society where moms are often left alone to bear the parental responsibilities all alone with less cooperation from fathers, Sinha’s book takes a reverse call and asks fathers to take charge. Also, with mothers aggressively taking over on this role since they naturally have more to offer, fathers are often pushed to a backseat, their initiatives overlooked. The book courageously and chivalrously points at parenting corners which are incomplete without male attention and picks up issues which sort out better when supported by a male voice. That includes taking a call on stem cell banking, choosing the right hospital, fixing up the doctors and appointments, noting down the issues on paper so that a visit isn’t wasted on vague talks, googling out information when the mother is busy servicing the demands of the baby, some infant ailments that you need to stay informed about, and others. With the facts and figures stated in the book, Daddy packs in a father’s perspective to things which endorse team work in bringing up a baby.

These are about the five parenting books by Indian authors which I found particularly fascinating. Before I sign off, I would like to add that if I ever write a parenting book, it would probably endorse that it is fine if you are a lousy parent; just make sure you are a great friend!

Happy parenting and Happy New Near. Do enjoy yourselves.   

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